You asked, we answered: I'm pregnant, how soon do I need to see a doctor?

Published August 20, 2021

Published

picture of a woman looking at a pregnancy test

Question:

I just found out I was pregnant. How soon should I go see a doctor? Also, does the doctor I see right away have to be the same one that will help me the whole way through the pregnancy? 

Answered by Katherine Lessman, MD:

First, congratulations!
 
The most common time to have a first appointment is around eight weeks gestation or about a month after that first missed period and positive pregnancy test. That said, many pregnant people should be seen earlier than that. For instance, people with diabetes, high blood pressure, history of ectopic pregnancy, who are on medications that might need to be changed, or who have bleeding or pain should be seen earlier. We also understand fully how brutal that month can be mentally, so if we can shorten that time and get people in sooner, we bend over backward to do it, even if we have to get creative!
 
It's always nice when the same doctor or team is able to follow a pregnancy all the way through, but there is always the freedom to change. In fact, sometimes a switch is needed for one of many reasons. When people change locations or offices during pregnancy, records go with them, so most testing doesn't have to be repeated, but there is always some redundancy while getting established.  
 
Many things happen at the first visit. We get to know each other, make sure the medical record is up to date, do a physical exam, update the Pap smear when appropriate, get blood work, talk about genetic testing options and check on the pregnancy itself. Whether an ultrasound is done at that appointment depends on gestational age and a few other factors, but we always check on the baby.